A Productivity Experiment: The Real Numbers Behind Working From Home
Working from home is a rising trend across the globe—and it isn’t restricted to the millennial generation. More people are taking advantage of remote work opportunities, thanks to the flexibility and convenience of these arrangements. There are many benefits of flex work, but to truly understand the full impact of working from home, we look at several key statistics.
Communication is the largest challenge that remote workers face. In fact, companies with fewer than 100 employees lose roughly $420,000 to poor communication each year while companies with 100,000 employees can lose up to $63 million. Collaboration platforms like Slack, Skype and Google Docs make it easy for teams to coordinate projects, but they also increase the amount of fragmentation in how employees interact with each other.
As noted in a remote workforce study, over one-quarter of mobile employees believe that their use of multiple communication tools can result in confusion with coworkers.
Remote workers should have clear communication policies and frequent touchpoints with their team to avoid conflict. Establishing this consistency allows remote and in-office staff to maintain up-to date information and react quickly to any changes or emergencies that may come up.
One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to control your physical and social environment. This can mean reducing background noise such as distracting conversations.
According to a Gensler study, in-office employees who overhear their coworkers’ conversations lose 5–10% in cognitive task performance.
While the home of a remote worker can be less distracting than the office, it depends on how the space is set up. Remote workers need to create a suitable environment—with proper lighting, minimal noise and adjustable physical comfort—that will allow them to stay focused on the tasks at hand while still providing room for flexibility.
Improved work output
Whether it’s fewer distractions or a more comfortable set-up, the home can be a convenient space for an individual to get more work done. In a Tinypulse workplace survey, 91% of remote employees found they were more productive when working outside of the office.
Those who work from home are less likely to take breaks and sick days than their in-office counterparts.
With the added benefit of avoiding wasteful commutes, remote workers save money, energy and time that can be devoted towards tasks and projects.
More daily stress, more satisfaction
A common trend among remote employees is a reliance on mobile technology and a tendency to work outside of the usual 9 to 5 cycle. According to a Gallup survey, this work lifestyle has produced two seemingly contradictory experiences: mobile workers feel more daily stress while maintaining a higher rate of satisfaction in their lives over other employees!
Among those surveyed, 47% of mobile workers reported a stressful work day compared to 37% of their non-mobile counterparts. And 63% of remote employees felt they were “thriving” over 52% of in-office employees.
As the Gallup survey suggests, this stress can be a positive thing for some employees, as it may be “associated with greater urgency and more productive work days.” Remote workers often respond to emails or continue to work on tasks after work hours, thereby increasing both their workload and their sense of accomplishment.
Research has shown that remote working can yield boosts in productivity and overall satisfaction, although effective communication can be a struggle. By setting up a comfortable work space and establishing consistent check-ins with their team, mobile employees can make the most of this popular work arrangement.